UMass Amherst campus at night
Financial Aid

Types of Aid

Non-degree seeking students are generally not eligible for financial aid. You can apply for an alternative loan to finance your education.

If you are eligible for a Federal Direct Loan (see Non-Degree Eligibility), you need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). After submitting your FAFSA, Financial Aid Services may award you Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans.

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans are available to eligible students, regardless of family income or financial need. However, to receive this loan, you must:

  • Successfully complete a FAFSA or renewal FAFSA.
  • Be enrolled in at least six credits in a degree granting program (see Non-Degree Eligibility for more information).
  • Complete a Direct Loan Entrance Counseling Form and Master Promissory Note if this is your first time borrowing a federal loan within 10 years. Financial Aid Services will post these items on your To Do List on SPIRE.
  • Not have exceeded your lifetime aggregate direct loan limits. The lifetime limit for graduate students is:
    • $138,500 (this includes your undergraduate degree and may include subsidized loans)

The annual limit for graduate students (and eligible non-degree seeking students) is $20,500.

The interest rate is fixed at 8.08%. Interest payments for Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loans begin the day the loan is disbursed and can be paid monthly, quarterly, or capitalized (adding the interest to the loan principle).

First: File a FAFSA!

Before considering private loan options, you should apply for federal, state and institutional financial aid, including federal student loans. Students considering educational private loans should apply only after they have applied for financial aid and received notification from the Financial Aid Office. Go to for more information.

Financial Aid Services at the University of Massachusetts Amherst strongly recommends that you fully research the alternative loan program and lender that best suits your financing needs. Please compare the benefits and costs of several alternative loan programs before you apply. To get the best interest rate and terms apply with a credit-worthy cosigner. To find out how to apply for an alternative loan visit the lender's website.

Visit the Alternative Loan Options page to explore links to several alternative educational loans for students and parents.

If you plan to take courses over the summer, you may be eligible to receive financial aid to offset the costs. The financial aid programs available for the summer are Federal Direct Loans and credit based alternative loans. Review your eligibility for financial aid, and click on the link below for more information.